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Ray's new layout - based on North Wales' Coast line

53994 Views 250 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  Doug
Hi folks,
Well as I am going on holiday for 3 weeks, I thought I would commit myself into building a new layout on my return. My last effort was a 9ft x 4ft point to point with continuous run, but the curves were too tight and lots of locos can't run properly on it. So it will be ripped up in the near future and a new continuous run 10ft x 5ft (or 10ft x 6ft if I can squeeze it in) will be built in my garage.

The new plan will be a purely fictitious station, MPD and goods yard somewhere on the North Wales Coast line.

This is an 8ft x 4ft version designed by S. Jay that I will slightly modify.

There are several reasons for choosing the North Wales location (even though you won't glimpse the sea on this layout!).
First I am a LMS man even though I was born in GWR country (Hereford)
There was a large amount of traffic on the line, freight and passenger, especially with summer holiday traffic. Crack expresses like the Irish Mail and small local trains, it's all there!
I can run just about everything the LMS used from small tank to pacific and still be prototypical (except perhaps for the Coronation Scot - I have no record of that - but it won't stop me!)
There was some interesting architecture to be seen on the line.
In BR days, some unusual visitors were seen including B1's and even the Gas Turbine GT3.

I have a large loco stock so I wanted to include a MPD, just to have a few on display and operational.
The design is interesting enough to operate three trains (2 passenger and one goods), with plenty of scope for exchange of engines and also some shunting.

So that is the plan. I will take this thread all the way from baseboard construction, to track laying, wiring (DC not DCC) and scenics (mainly urban).
I will try to salvage some stuff from my old layout but there will be a new LNWR station building, Bangor style footbridge and other interesting bits and pieces. Other bits, like Engine Shed and Signal Boxes, I have already prepared (see Ray's Building Site thread below).

That's all for the moment, will continue in May, all being well.
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I just thought I would mention the use of Peco turnout templates. These are readily downloadable from the Peco website

First, make sure when you are printing that you set the printer to print Actual Size. Once printed, there is a ruler on the sheet, so compare this using a ruler.

Here is a sample sheet

I cut out a turnout template using scissors and mark the type of turnout and the code number on it for reference.

Here I have placed a Catch Point template near to the main running line turnout and then draw around it with a pencil, marking the ends of the rails too.

Remove the template and mark on the plan the turnout type and ref code.

Next, using a piece of flexi track, I aligned the flexi between the catch point end and the rest of the siding and drew along the edge of the track.

Hope this helps explain the process !
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Very little to report, except that I bought several of these large storage boxes from Asda for £3 each - bargain ! (Loco shown for comparison - unfortunately not included !!!)

And I have also got my LMS 10000 kit-bash running ! So at least something was accomplished !
see here -
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I have just come across a couple of U.S.A. videos on youtube that should prove useful, since I have never tackled an L girder system before.

Plus this book
Well, a little progress today. I packed up most of my boxed locos into the four plastic boxes. I still have a cardboard box full of coaches and two 3 drawer plastic drawer sets plus all the boxes in the loft! At least I have a bit of room to get to the wiring. However, I am about one week behind in my OU studies so it will take some time still to dismantle.
I've just found out this morning from SWMBO that we have cavity wall insulation people coming on 2nd July and that they will need access to the garage wall

So I have to get the boards dismantled by then ! Nothing like a deadline to focus the mind !
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So with time of the essence I broke off my studies and spend an hour in the garage. I managed to unsolder all the connections at the back of the mimic board, detach all of the street and station lighting and about 4 point motors. Well it's a start ! With a bit of luck I can fully remove all the wiring by Friday at the latest and then spend Sunday dismantling the woodwork.
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Quite a successful day today as I have managed to detach all of the wiring and point motors. I have put all the old wire in clear plastic bags by colour to help when re-wiring although I may well need some new stuff.

Quite sad really to seeing all that hard work disappear...

However, it did not work properly as the radii were too tight and at least I have a new layout to look forward to.
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Have just spent a little while sketching out how I plan to make the main L Girder Base modules. The deep ones will contain stock drawers on kitchen cabinet rails as illustrated, others will just have some shelves.

The sketch is obviously not complete, it just shows the main components!!!
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gQUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 21 Jun 2012, 18:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>One little change that might help if the bases are going to be installed next to a wall first. When you come to attach the cross bearers, it will be easier if the rear L-shape has the horizontal piece projecting forwards. This will make it much easier to screw in from below and see what you are doing. Of course if it is all going to be fixed before placing it against a wall then this doesn't matter (unless you need to make alterations later). Also, if the front L-shape has its horizontal piece projecting backwards, then the front of the layout is a flush face, and you can more easily add a decorative fascia if you want to.

I hope this helps and that you can understand what I mean.


Many thanks, Robert. That is most useful.
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Well as usual al my plans came to nought. Went to the Exeter Model Railway show on Saturday and picked up a few ideas and tips. Also got a booklet on LMS liveries.
Sunday, I did some more studying in the sunshine and then painted some figures.
I also bought a nice Gaugemaster twin controller with brake simulator on fleabay. Saw a similar one go for £8 more so was happy enough.

I will clear the top of the old layout completely today and remove two baseboards. (Promise!)
Well with a herculean effort, all is dismantled and all railway bits put away in boxes. Just need to tidy up the garage space now for the workmen (another mammoth task in itself!)

No more progress until next Wednesday when I will buy some timber with my B&Q Senior Citizen's Discount of 10% !!

Back to OU studies now as I have a 2000 word essay to submit by Wednesday!
All tidy in the garage now. Tuesday, move some shelving back in place and Wednesday buy some wood. Can't wait to get started, even though I haven't used L girder or ply before!
In preparation for the major woodworking task ahead, I purchased these variable depth countersink drill. They allow you to drill and countersink in one operation and set the drill/countersink depth with an allen key. Only £6 so if they don't work then nothing much lost!

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Well it was a struggle to get two packs of 2.7m long timber into the car and drive home but it was only about a mile, so all in the garage safe and sound. Also got two sheets of 9mm ply.

Only problem now is I need some good weather to cut the timber to size and glue and screw the L girders.
Miracle of Miracles - a dry afternoon so the framework began.

I bought two different sizes of wood for the L Girders (both 2.7m long) Planed Smooth 44mm x 18mm and 70mm x 18mm.

So with two lengths of each cut square to 8ft (2.44M) I measured in 9mm on the smaller beam.

I use this Combination Square to get a nice even line by placing a pencil along the end and then move the square along the wood.

Next I used the new adjustable countersink drill to drill at the ends and at 1 foot intervals (You can tell I'm a Metric convert can't you!)

With the deep beam in the workbench I ran a bead of woodworking glue along the top edge, then screwed down the smaller piece on top, making sure that it was square at the back edge and the ends. (Do both ends and work inwards). There is a pliilr bow in wood so make sure the edges align before screwing each hole.

One done

Both beams complete!

To be continued ... (weather permitting!!)
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Today's job was inserting four support blocks at the ends of the L girders to enable end pieces to be fitted (for joining other layout modules).

First the blocks were cut to the depth of the girder.
A line was marked at 18mm in from the edge and another line marked to indicate the width of the block.
The position of the fixing holes was marked, taking account of where the fixing screws for the end pieces will be.

Outside view

Inside view (don't worry about the pencil marks, they mean nothing!)

The blocks were glued and clamped in position then screws inserted.

Finished - blocks glued and screwed in position.

The next step will be to work out where the cross battens on top of the L girders will go.

Although most L girders have the vertical to the inside of the module, I have chosen to put the verticals towards the edges of the baseboard in order to help support the fascia and backscene.
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QUOTE (TheBufoon @ 5 Jul 2012, 14:02) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>That last pic looks better
, no splits in the timber, pilot hole or soap?

Cheers, Chris.

Neither ! Just luck !
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Ok, following on from this morning's work and while the weather held, I marked out the location of the top battens.

Fist I marked the L girders clearly as to which one was the inner and which the outer.
Next I clamped them together and with the lining paper plan on which I had marked the positions of the battens I transfers these marks onto the timber girders.

These marks are the centre lines, so I measured out 9mm each way on each and drew lines across both L girders. This gives me guides for the top battens as illustrated.

Top batten position marked out. (Not an actual batten ! - just a similar sized piece of wood)

That's it for the moment....
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As a break from today's construction, I have been browsing through Michael Jones' excellent book "Steam on the North Wales Coast" with an eye to planning what sock I can run on the layout.

First of all I was surprised by the number of destinations on the Up line. Here is a list for 14th July 1962:-


Quite a variety!

Next I looked at the type of traffic which obviously varied over time but included:

Express passenger
Local Stopping
Holiday excursions
Cattle & livestock
Mineral (Limestone out, coal in)
General freight
Slate (mainly on the GWR line)

So plenty of action! I have started to build up my stock of cattle wagons!
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Since the weather has held up, I cut 5 spacers for between the girders this evening. A good day's work!
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